The Smile Face Museum – Brooklyn, New York - Atlas Obscura
The Smile Face Museum is permanently closed.

The Smile Face Museum

This collection of grinning ephemera has grown from basement to Brooklyn. 


A shrine to the iconic yellow grin that has acted as a symbol of good times since the 1960’s, The Smile Face Museum began as one man’s collection but has outgrown its basement roots. 

Founded in 1992 by collector Mark Sachs, the kitschy assortment of knick-knacks contains just about every type of object one might imagine a smiley face could be pasted on. Originally contained in the basement of Sachs’ Maryland home, the museum has continued to grow over the decades and is often considered a work of modern art in and of itself. Across over 1,000 items in the collection, the simple, yet instantly recognizable yellow smile beams out at visitors from oven mitts, clocks, toys, clothes, deli bags, rugs, and posters. The collection is so wide-ranging as to seem uncurated, which is to be expected when the subject of your museum is as ubiquitous and easily replicated as the “Smiley.”

While the Smile Face Museum  has enjoyed its home in Sachs’ basement for decades, the collection has grown a deal in both size and popularity since its establishment in the mid-90’s. In 2014 the museum created a temporary installation in Brooklyn, New York before was placed back in storage. While in Brooklyn, the collection will be catalogued for posting to the internet so that it can continue to put smiles on faces for years to come.


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Traveling exhibit, last open in Maryland in 2016

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